AN ENGINEER spent his working life surrounded by deadly asbestos, often with no protective equipment, an inquest has heard.

Roy Gee-Clough died at home on May 6 from mesothelioma, a cancer of the lungs caused by inhaling asbestos fibres.

Assistant coroner Catherine Cundy was told how, before his death, 77-year-old Mr Gee-Clough had made a statement outlining his working conditions at the British Rail Loco Works and then BAe Systems, where the air was sometimes so thick with a material containing asbestos that work had to stop.

Mr Gee-Clough, a married father, told how he began working at the Horwich Loco Works as a 14-year-old office boy in 1957, delivering post to all the departments, before beginning his five year apprenticeship and working in the erecting shop where he had the job of lagging boilers with asbestos mattresses.

"During that job dust was created and it covered his boiler suit," said Ms Cundy. "The air was generally thick with asbestos dust. There were no masks or protection provided."

In 1964 he moved to British Aerospace at Lostock where he spent the rest of his career making components for missiles.

In his early 30s he was given the task of machining a component for the Sea Slug missile, which involved using Dursetos, an asbestos sheet material.

"He says there was a phenomenal amount of dust which came off the machines that was processing the Durestos and every so often it was too much to cope with and so the work would have to stop for a while while things cleared," said Ms Cundy.

A colleague working next to Mr Gee-Clough died from mesothelioma but he remained apparently healthy after retiring, aged 48, when he was made redundant.

He and his wife Gillian divided their time between their homes in Spain and Stocks Park Drive, Horwich and his step-daughter, Deborah Arstall, described how he was artistic and a keen walker.

But in June 2018, before he and his wife were due to head back to Spain, he paid a visit to the doctor after noticing a shortness of breath.

Mesothelioma, which can take 30 or more years to show symptoms, was diagnosed and Mr Gee-Clough underwent several courses of chemotherapy and palliative radiotheraphy before his condition deteriorated in Spring this year and he died.

Ms Cundy recorded a conclusion that Mr Gee-Clough died as a result of industrial disease. None of his family were at the inquest so she asked that her condolences be passed to them.